Coyote Hunting in Illinois: [Rules and Regulations 2023-2024]

If you want to learn about the regulations regarding coyote hunting in Illinois, you’ve come to the right place. Illinois offers some of the most liberal seasons and bag limits in the nation when it comes to hunting coyotes. Many hunters consider Illinois a coyote hunting paradise thanks to millions of acres of public hunting land. This article goes into an in-depth analysis of laws and regulations regarding coyote hunting in the Prairie State of Illinois. Along the way, I will also try to answer a few FAQs related to coyote hunting in Illinois.

Coyote Hunting in Illinois

The Department of Natural Resources regulates all the coyote hunting activities in the state of Illinois. Furthermore, the department is also responsible for protecting and managing land, water, fish, and wildlife. It also helps in providing access to outdoor recreation opportunities in Illinois. The state of Illinois has classified coyotes alongside mink, muskrat, raccoon, striped skunk, weasel, opossum, beaver, red fox, gray fox, badger, bobcat, and river otter as Furbearing Mammals. That means there are neither any close-seasons nor bag limits for hunting coyotes.

Related: Coyote Hunting in West Virginia: Rules and Regulations 2022

Do you need a license to hunt coyotes in Illinois?

You will need a hunting license and habitat stamp for hunting coyotes in Illinois. You can purchase all the necessary licenses and permits online through the DNR website.

Coyote Hunting seasons in Illinois

There is no closed season for hunting coyotes in Illinois; except closed during shotgun deer season in counties open to firearm deer hunting. You may hunt coyotes 24 hours from 10 November through midnight on 15 March 2022. During the rest of the year, hunting hours for coyotes are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.

Bear in mind, coyote hunters with an unfilled firearm deer permit may hunt coyotes during the first and second firearm deer seasons but must wear a cap and 400 square inches of solid blaze orange or solid blaze pink outer clothing when hunting.

The Coyote trapping season, however, starts from November 10 and ends on February 15.

Can you hunt coyotes at night in Illinois?

You may hunt coyotes at night in Illinois only from 10 November to 15 March 2022. At all other times, you may not hunt coyotes one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. The state of Illinois does not restrict the type of sights or scopes used for coyote hunting (including laser sights and night vision scopes). Furthermore, you may use any hue of the lens while hunting coyotes at night in Illinois as long as the lights are not used from or attached to any vehicle or conveyance (including ATVs and horses). Coyote and raccoons may be harvested during the open season using a small hand-operated light by a person who is on foot and not in any vehicle.

Bag limits for coyote hunting in Illinois

Since coyotes are classified as Furbearing Mammals, there are no daily, annual, or season bag limits on hunting coyotes in Illinois. Additionally, there are also no bag limits for trapping coyotes in Illinois. But keep in mind, there is a season for trapping coyotes. The season for trapping coyotes starts on November 10 and runs through February 15, 2022. All in all, you may hunt coyotes in Illinois all year round without having to worry about the season or bag limits.

Where to hunt Coyotes in Illinois?

Coyotes can be found across most of Illinois, but some areas tend to have higher populations that are better for hunting. Central and Northern Illinois tend to have more coyotes as they offer rural areas with plentiful cover and prey. The best public hunting land options include state recreation areas, state parks, and national wildlife refuges.

One of the most popular public land options is the Chain O’Lakes State Park which spans over 4,000 acres between McHenry and Lake counties. The mix of prairie, oak woodlands, marshes, and lakes attracts a sizeable coyote population. Another top area is the 40,000 acre Carlyle Lake State Recreation Area which offers a mix of open land and forests that coyotes thrive in while hunting deer, rabbits and other small mammals.

In Southern Illinois, Coyote hunting hot spots include Trail of Tears State Forest, Hidden Springs State Forest, and Union County Conservation Area. These large tracts of forests and fields are perfect coyote habitat and see frequent hunting. The Shawnee National Forest also offers great habitat for coyotes across its sprawling 286,000 acres. Public land maps and regulations should always be consulted when planning out coyote hunts.

The use of electronic calls and baits for hunting coyotes in Illinois is legal; as long as the wild game used as bait was legally harvested. Additionally, It is also legal to hunt coyotes while using or possessing a tree climbing device.

Coyotes may be hunted on private property using dogs, archery devices, any type, and caliber of handgun, any type of legal rifle including large capacity semi-automatic rifles, and shotguns using any type of shell. During firearm deer seasons, only hunters with valid, unfilled deer permits may harvest coyotes with the same sorts of firearms permitted for deer. When hunting coyotes with a shotgun; make sure that the magazine has been fitted with a plug that makes the shotgun incapable of firing more than three consecutive shots.

You cannot legally hunt coyotes or discharge a gun or crossbow from a public roadway, or highway in Illinois. The whole width between the borderlines of every public road is referred to as the highway (right-of-way). Roadway means the portion of the public road that is ordinarily used for vehicle travel, excluding the berm or shoulder. Guns must be unloaded until the hunter is clear of the road and adjacent right-of-way.

Before hunting coyotes at public hunting areas in Illinois, please check for updated regulations and site contact information. Check with the site office, if you need more information regarding site-specific regulations.

Can you use dogs to hunt coyotes in Illinois?

You can legally use dogs to chase coyotes in Illinois. Keep in mind, you cannot allow your dog to chase, harass or kill deer or turkey. You may use dogs for hunting, except for deer and turkey.

You may pursue or chase furbearers with dogs during the running season. Coyote, gray and red fox, opossum, raccoon, and striped skunk have a year-round running season. Between the hours of sunset and sunrise during the 10-day period preceding the opening date of the raccoon hunting season and the 10-day period after the closing date of the raccoon hunting season, you cannot legally pursue any furbearer with a dog or dogs.

When training dogs from sunset to sunrise; no person in, along with, or accompanying the dog training party shall be in possession of a firearm or live ammunition; except pistols capable of firing only blank cartridges. Non-residents are not permitted to hunt furbearers or run their dogs in Illinois at any time when Illinois citizens are not permitted to do so.

Except on an authorized field trial or dog training location, you cannot legally possess any firearm or ammunition other than a handgun loaded with blank cartridges while training dogs during the time when hunting seasons are closed.

It’s illegal to allow a dog to hunt on others’ land without first obtaining permission from the landowner. If a hunting dog crosses onto the property in which the coyote hunter has no permission to hunt; the hunter has no legal right to follow the dog. Dogs running at large may be subject to Illinois Animal Control Laws or other local animal control legislation.

Can you hunt coyotes from a vehicle in Illinois?

You may not use an automobile, vehicle, or conveyance, any sort of boat, aircraft, or other machine powered by mechanical power to hunt, disturb, harass, or take any coyotes in Illinois. There is an exception for paraplegics or other disabled persons who can get a permit to hunt from any stationary motor vehicle or stationary motor-driven land conveyance. Moreover, the use of a drone in a way that interferes with another person’s lawful hunting of coyotes is illegal in Illinois. Any aerial vehicle that does not have a human operator is referred to as a “drone.”

Furthermore, unless the firearm or airgun is unloaded and completely contained, it is illegal to carry a shotgun, rifle, pistol, or airgun in any vehicle, conveyance, or aircraft. It’s also unlawful to carry a bow in a vehicle, conveyance, or aircraft unless it is unstrung or enclosed.

Coyote hunters are must keep their guns unloaded and in a case while in a vehicle or on a conveyance (including but not limited to ATVs and horseback) unless exempt by a special IDNR permit.

Are there any bounty programs for hunting coyotes in Illinois?

There aren’t any bounty programs for coyote hunting in Illinois as of now. If any news pops up, I will update this section accordingly.

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